LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In an emotional Instagram post, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James broke his silence Monday night for the first time since the death of Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and 7 others were killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, but both James and the Lakers stayed silent about the shocking news until Monday night.

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“Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!” James wrote alongside a picture of the two greeting each other on the sidelines of a recent Laker game.

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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾

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Like Bryant, James made the jump to the NBA from high school. They were both fierce competitors, but also managed to win two Olympic gold medals together on Team USA.

James had just surpassed Bryant on the all-time scoring list Saturday night, and got a congratulatory call from him that night.

“Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have,” James wrote. “I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!!”

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